Howdy friends! I hope you are all doing well and enjoying your summer! I have been missing in action a bit from my blog…….but there has been sooo much going on! Hunter finished up another school year (how is it possible that he will be in 10th grade in the fall?), we started a kitchen renovation (sooo exciting)……my niece, Jalen, graduated from high school and immediately after school was out, we left for vacation! And what a vacation it was! We spent two whole weeks in Beaufort, NC and it was nothing short of wonderful. We decided to try to make up for the fun times we missed last summer! We fished, we hung out by the pool, enjoyed the beach, went to Sand Dollar Island and found lots of sand dollars, ate some fantastic food, enjoyed evenings on the deck playing cards, kayaked, read, did a little bit of shopping and just had a FANTASTIC time. It was a wonderful vacation and all three of us enjoyed it immensely!
Fortunately, while we were away for two weeks, the contractors got LOTS done on our kitchen renovation. We’re not quite done yet – but we should be wrapping things up in the next two weeks! Hunter enjoyed a week at home and then he left on Sunday to spend a week in Rutherfordton, NC with our youth group on a mission trip with Appalachia Service Project. These kids are having a wonderful time…..working hard and blessing others and having some fun in the process. God is good!
Tuesday, I spent some time just re-reading through my blog posts from the past year. WOW…….just WOW! So much has happened in a short time! It was quite cathartic reading over my posts……remembering vividly some of the days and others (thankfully) were not quite as vivid. Time has a way of allowing us to forget some of the tough parts yet remember the good parts with clarity!
Dates……now that’s something that I don’t think I will forget. One year ago today (June 28th, 2017) – I was at Duke Cancer Center preparing for my very first chemo treatment. CC and Hunter both accompanied me on that very first day. Kind of hard to believe it’s been a year all ready…….and when I look at myself now – twelve months later…..other than this crazy “hair grow” that I can do absolutely NOTHING with – you would never know I spent the last year in the fight of my life! Praise the Lord! What a difference a year makes!
Many of you may be in the middle of the “fight of your life” – whether it’s cancer or some other disease. My advice to you is to stay the course…….give it all you’ve got……and keep your eyes on The Cross and the Good Lord. He will NEVER EVER fail you. I know that there is NO WAY that I could have survived the past year without God directing my path, calming my fears and surrounding me with a boat load of supporters and cheerleaders and prayer warriors near and far! All I had to do was “show up” – and do (mostly) as I was told…..and the good Lord and my doctors took care of the rest!
Our message at church on Sunday was about David and Goliath. Little ole David facing the massive Goliath with a pocket full of stones. But size didn’t matter. David carried the Lord with him into battle. Just like God took care of David…….He will take care of you and me……we just have to believe in Him and step out on faith. We all face different giants – maybe it’s sickness, depression, fear, financial issues, family concerns…..giants come in many shapes and sizes……but if you head into your battle with God on your side……..just like David, you, too, will claim victory!
This blog has been such an amazing source of therapy for me. As I’ve said before, I started the blog with purely selfish intentions. I knew that I just COULD NOT spend hours on the phone or answering emails updating folks on my condition. A blog seemed like a one stop shop! Type it all down once – and off it goes into cyber space for all to read if they so desired. Boy……was I totally unprepared for the feedback I would receive on my blog. Turns out it was being read by those who knew me personally and many who did not…….but my story resonated with them on some level. Almost immediately I began receiving emails and texts thanking me for putting my story out there…..or folks messaging me to say they had their first mammogram or made an appointment for a check up…….. Who knew?
It’s been a running joke in my family for YEARS…….that my parents sent me to college and I majored in English with a concentration in Communications/Public Relations…….but had never really DONE anything that truly utilized my education to the fullest. And for several years, I’d spent a lot of time trying to figure out my PURPOSE. Surely there was SOMETHING that God wanted me to do but I just couldn’t figure it out. There had to be some way I could be used to further His Kingdom……..but I just never got my “neon sign” telling me what that something was……but I kept praying.
Isn’t that just like God…….to wait until I’m 50 years old……and diagnosed with breast cancer…..and SELFISHLY start a blog……to remind me that His hands were all over this?! This verse from Esther has spoken to me loudly over the past year……
Esther 4:14 New International Version (NIV)
14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
Hmmm…..could it be? I’d spent years trying to find my “purpose”…….could it be that my purpose was to share my breast cancer story? But more importantly, could it be that my purpose was to share my breast cancer story and share the many many ways that God showed up and blessed me at one of the most difficult times of my life? Yet here I am a year later…….fully recovered…….living life to the fullest…….and I continue to run into people who are so encouraging about this blog….as recently as Tuesday night! Crazy! Many have said “you need to write a book” or “you should turn this blog into a book” and I was like yeah – that’s a great idea…..BUT……and the BUTS were many…..
- I’d never written a book before
- Why would the general public be interested in reading my story
- How do you even get started
- Writing for friends and family is one thing – but publishing it – well, that’s another
- I’m just a regular girl from Roxboro, NC – nothing special about me or my story
- Thousands of others have fought this fight before me – why would I think my story is special
- And so on, and on and on
Sure, I was enamored with the “idea” of writing a book and being an author – but…..
And the encouragement continued to come in…….from friends…….and family……..and strangers……..former teachers…….fellow survivors……..and I thought MAYBE……..just MAYBE I should give this some thought. Maybe God was speaking to me by way of these folks and I was just too consumed by everything else to see it.
I knew straight away that IF I published a book, I wanted to publish it with a Christian Publisher. That much was certain. So after lots and lots of prayer…….I started researching publishers…….and collecting information…….LOTS of information……..and comparing those publishers…….and talking to other folks who had written books…….and asking for advice……and keeping all of this hush hush because I surely wouldn’t want anyone to know if I submitted a manuscript and it got REJECTED. Lordy – let’s keep this super quiet. What they don’t know won’t hurt them.
So my friends……….after LOTS AND LOTS OF PRAYER……..and consideration……..and encouragement……. I submitted my manuscript to 3 different Christian publishing houses…….and wouldn’t ya know – all 3 of them were willing to publish it. Then began the arduous task of trying to determine how to choose between the three. And as always…….God took care of that too. One of the publishing companies came back to me with an exceptional offer……and I knew that was God’s way of pointing me in the right direction.
Now begins the process of editing……..and revising……and cover design…..etc. I’m a bit overwhelmed………but I firmly believe if I continue to trust in God and let Him walk me through this process…….He will see me through to the end. If my story can encourage JUST ONE person……then it’s worth it. If I can use one of the toughest times in my life to witness to others just how good God was to me during that fight and how many ways He blessed my family and me in ways we could never have imagined……..then so be it…..I will trust Him yet again to see me through this process.
Please pray for me through this process……..and ultimately, pray that God’s will will be done in and through this.
1 Peter 2:21 New International Version (NIV)
21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.